Will An Outside Contender Win The Grand National?
The Grand National has thrown up a number of surprise winners over its 180-year history. One competitor for the 2019 version of the race will be determined to join the list of horses that have appeared out of nowhere to claim the most prestigious crown in jumps racing.
There have been five 100/1 shouts to have won the National, although only three have occurred since the end of the Second World War. Mon Mome was the last stunning victor of the event in 2009 when he rose to the occasion for trainer Venetia Williams and owner Vida Bingham.
The favourite has not won the National since 2010 when Don’t Push It claimed the crown. The course Aintree provides the toughest test of horse and jockey over the four miles and 514 yards of the event. Famous fences Becher’s Brook, The Chair and Foinavon have halted many charges in the past, felling even the best of competitors, who can even be taken out of action by accident.
It opens up the race to the field and we’ll now break down four horses that could emerge to take the National crown.
Ramses De Teillee
The seven-year-old is one of the most intriguing horses in the field. He faces a challenge given that no horse of his age has won the National since 1940 when Bogskar claimed the crown. Ramses De Teillee does have form on his side, displaying a strong level of consistency over the course of the 2018/9 National Hunt campaign.
David Pipe’s charge started off with an underwhelming outing in the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase, finishing off the pace in fifth at Wincanton. However, the French-bred horse bounced back with a brilliant performance in the Welsh Grand National Trial Handicap Chase at Chepstow in December, claiming the victory by two-and-a-half lengths with David Noonan in the saddle.
The seven-year-old carried that form into the Welsh Grand National and was once again impressive despite his relative inexperience. He battled Elegant Escape down the stretch, but he just lost out by one-and-a-quarter lengths to Colin Tizzard’s charge. Ramses De Teillee was on form once again in the Grand National Trial Handicap Chase.
Noonan kept his charge on at a good pace throughout the contest, jumping smoothly at Haydock Park. And although he just lacked the speed to beat out Robinsfirth – it was still a fine performance from the bay gelding. Odds of 25/1 at Bet365 are good value for Pipe to win the event for the second time.
The Irish-bred horse put forward his credentials for the National with a triumph in its Scottish counterpart last season. The 10-year-old had form entering the contest at Ayr, although he was considered an outsider at 33/1 to take the victory. Rebecca Curtis’ charge had a steady start to the race, although his progress was impeded by a mistake at the 15th fence.
Adam Wedge in the saddle helped Joe Farrell recover and managed to find his rhythm to surge to the front of the field. Three fences from the end of the race he has control, but pressure came from Ballyoptic. In a tense finale, Joe Farrell had just enough to see out the win by a nose on the line.
The Irish-bred horse has since returned to action, competing twice at Newbury in 2019 after missing the start of the campaign. He was off the pace in his first outing of the term, placing in sixth with an underwhelming display at the Greatwood Veterans’ Handicap Chase.
The 10-year-old was much improved in his last race in the Insure With Be Wiser Handicap Chase. Joe Farrell was still not operating at the peak of his powers, but he clinched second place behind Chic Name. His odds of 20/1 with Bet365 are a decent price if he can replicate his form from the Scottish National.
Walk In The Mill
Robert Walford’s charge has been one of the most consistent horses in his field over the course of the 2018/19 National Hunt campaign. Walk In The Mill missed out of the Grand National last term due to injury, but he has been impressive since his return.
The French-bred horse was solid in his comeback run at the Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase at Cheltenham in November, placing in third behind The Young Master and Station Master. James Best took to the saddle for the Becher Handicap Chase where Walk In The Mill was a decent 10/1 shout.
In the early stages, he struggled to establish a rhythm, but as time progressed he found a stride and was able to surge towards the front of the field. Walford’s charge strengthened down the stretch and claimed a comfortable win ahead of a talented field by four-and-a-half lengths.
He dropped down to 19 furlongs for a race in January at Chepstow and was still solid, placing in third behind two quality horses. Walford opted not to run his charge at Cheltenham Festival and the time away did not suit Walk In The Mill, who struggled to find his best in the National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle at Exeter. He could be a horse that thrives at Aintree and a price of 25/1 with 888Sport is worth a punt given his outing at the Becher Handicap Chase.
The 10-year-old has been tested over the course of the season and has been a consistent operator for Stuart Coltherd. He competed in the National last term and unseated Sam Coltherd at the seventh fence – Foinavon. Captain Redbeard returned to the track with a solid start at Carlisle, placing in third in his opening race of the new campaign.
He followed it up with another good ride at Haydock Park in a fierce battle with Vintage Clouds and Takingrisks, although he finished third. He was off the pace in the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase at Aintree, placing down in ninth as he failed to find his rhythm. It was a similar story at Haydock Park in the Peter Marsh Handicap Chase, improving slightly into sixth.
His form began to turn in a showdown against Definitly Red in the Malcolm Jefferson Memorial Chase at Kelso, defeating his rival by two lengths. Captain Redbeard was solid last time out at the Belhaven Brewery Premier Chase, placing in third in Kelso. His odds are 50/1 are justified with Bet365 as it would be a surprise to see him to rise to the occasion at Aintree.
- Captain Redbeard
- grand national
- Joe Farrell
- Ramses De Teillee
- Walk In The Mill